I discovered Life on Mars while walking up Glenferrie Road the other day. From the minimalistic interior and stylised font on the sign it was immediately apparent that this cafe meant business. Competing for cafe addicts, against some tried and tested staples such as Liar Liar, Studio Movida and Axil Coffee Roasters, this exciting new venture definitely has its work cut out for it. But before I knew it, I was hearing the name on every bruncher’s lips, ‘have you tried Life on Mars?’. This cafe shot up to the top of my wish-list.
The space is decorated in a minimalistic style, solid dark wood tables and benches. There are a variety of ‘food friendly’ tables suitable for up to medium sized groups (approx. 6 people) as well as higher ‘coffee suitable’ tables. The friendly barrister shares the dining room space with you, preparing your delicious take away or sit down coffee orders before your eyes. You can watch the world go by though the large glass windows, or face the kitchen and drool over the two-hand sized muffins on the counter.
Friendly staff took our order from the slightly atypical menu. Keep in mind that the chefs are happy to make changes to the menu according to your tastes or requirements. Or simply do what I did and create your own breakfast.
I ordered Avocado and Pan Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs on Sourdough ($14.5)
The toast was buttered, golden brown and crunchy. Even when it slid off my plate on to the floor the staff happily replaced it for me. The mushrooms were a mix of asian and button varieties, lightly sautéed with parsley and complimented the just ripe avocado. A delicious and filling combination.
My fellow diner ordered the Porridge of Rolled Rye, Oats and Barley served with Rhubarb and Crystallised Pistachios ($10.5), a very colourful dish! I have never seen pink and green porridge until now. The rhubarb was poached, not stringy or too sweet. Over all the dish was filling with a fresh flavour, complimented by the added crunch of the nuts.
Despite the accommodating and welcoming waitstaff, service was quite slow. The cafe was not full however we waited 20-30 mins after ordering for our food. Coffee also took around 10 mins, though take away coffee was served much faster to waiting customers. After I dropped my toast (in true dining elegance) I waited a further 20mins for a replacement piece, were they slow roasting my sourdough?
All in all, jump on any of the numerous trams, busses or trains that lead to Glenferrie Road and check out this stylish new cafe before you have to fight off the crowds. No doubt this cafe will soon be joining the ranks of Liar Liar in the list of ‘go to’ coffee places on the East Side.